The University of Dayton New Horizons Music Program is one of two hundred opportunities nationwide for folks over 55 to engage in music performance after having played in their early years or having never played an instrument but want to take one up in their retirement. Directors for the program are from the University music department and a special feature of the Dayton program is the participation of music education majors as assistant directors.
Research indicates that participation in musical activities does wonders for physical and mental health: greater finger dexterity, increased social interaction, better memory and alertness, and general well-being.
The University of Dayton program supports a concert band of about fifty and a jazz band of about 20 musicians with a feeder program for beginners just starting or returning to music. And, did I mention, a German band.
I was a charter member of the UD program over twelve years ago when I switched from the trumpet of my youth to playing trombone. Music education students were my first teachers. We had only about ten members to start and at the end of that year had the wonderful experience of sitting in with the University concert band for a spring concert. Now the New Horizons Band regularly puts on its own spring and holiday concerts and plays for civic events such as March of Dimes and other fundraisers,
Speaking from experience, I can tell you that the most often asked question of retirees is “What are you doing now that you are retired?” People assume you are sitting around depressed and watching television all day. It is great to be able to say that I am participating in a band program just for seniors.
Check out the web site for the national office for more information and the address of your nearest NH music program.
For more info on the UD program see our web site
(Photos were contributed by NHB members and Larry Burgess, UD photographer)